A lifetime Peoria resident, Judy “Page” Adkisson began singing at the age of 5 for family and friends, and in her church’s Children’s Choir. She then continued her singing through school choirs and group talent shows at Carver Community Center. Her only formal vocal training was instruction from her high school music teacher, where she learned harmony and a minimal amount of reading music. Her consideration of a career in vocal music actually started at 15 while in high school. She performed as the lead vocalist with a 4-piece band that entertained in the high school gymnasium after school for “sock hops.”
At the age of 17, she auditioned with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. She graduated high school and became an Ikette with the Turner Review, gaining valuable knowledge and experience in the six months that followed. This helped strengthen her desire to become a professional vocalist, and she began to expand her career.
Upon returning to Peoria for a few years and performing with various bands in the area, Judy moved to the West Coast in 1968. Still not giving up the musical gift that she was given, she auditioned and won the job of lead vocalist for a popular band in San Francisco for four years while working as a Reservations Agent for United Airlines. Upon returning to Peoria years later, she continued her singing career as a band vocalist on a part-time basis, performing throughout the Midwest while holding down a job as a Secretary at Caterpillar, Inc. She had finally found her niche as a performer. In this time frame, Judy sang at various music venues as an opening act for recording artists visiting the Peoria area for concerts with long-time musician friend Preston Jackson and his group, Kriss Kross, in the late 1970’s through the 80’s and 90’s.
Judy’s career in music has spanned over 56 years. She currently performs at various venues in and around Peoria, such as the Contemporary Art Center, Two25 at the Mark Twain Hotel, Broken Tree Coffee Shop, Central Illinois Jazz Society events, Peoria Riverfront events, and private venues with longtime guitarist friends Preston Jackson and Steve Degenford. She mainly performs Jazz, the music she was first introduced to when she began vocalizing at home.